It has come to light that there are serious mixed messages regarding the future relations of Switzerland and the European Union. The EU’s relationship with Switzerland has been at the forefront of the annual Congress of the Swiss Abroad meetings in recent weeks and a general hot topic for some time now. There were two keynote speeches in particular that added fuel to the fire and gave some harsh indications of Switzerland’s true feelings regarding the European Union.
The majority of attendees reportedly left the keynote speeches feeling extreme disappointment and doubt for their future safety. The event was carried out to shed hope and give people some insight into the currently ongoing negotiations between the pair so that they would feel more involved, clued up and secure. However this was not the case. All speeches seemed to advocate for the need for a stable relationship between Switzerland and Brussels, however it didn’t seem to dig any deeper than that.
Negotiations between Switzerland and Brussels remain on a need to know basis after both Roberto Balzaretti, the head of European affairs in the Swiss foreign ministry and the EU ambassador to Switzerland, Michael Matthiessen have kept quiet in all corners. Details of talks and decisions are not being revealed and likely won’t until some form of common ground has been reached between the pair.
So far, Balzaretti went on record saying “The aim of the government is to strengthen relations with the EU in the long term and to ensure economic prosperity while maintaining the highest possible degree of sovereignty for Switzerland,”. He then continued his narrative, by finishing with, “Let’s work towards a consensual solution with self-confidence and modesty”. In response Matthiessen followed this up by stating that “Switzerland and Europe need each other more than ever, if the EU economy is doing well, the Swiss also feel a beneficial impact.”.
Both parties to this debate clearly value each other and it will be very interesting to see how it all plays out. For now though, we must wait for more information as all talks, meetings and correspondence are being closely guarded for the sake of both nations. For now, the OSA director Ariane Rustichelli and Sarah Mastantuoni have released a statement to say that “Relations between Switzerland and Europe are much more than just a European issue. There is a global dimension not only for the consequences for Switzerland but also for the economic as well as for domestic and foreign policy,” So now, we wait.
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